Karl Rove: Trump legal problems dampening Republican ‘enthusiasm’ ahead of midterms
CORRECTION: Karl Rove served as a senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush. A previous story included incorrect information.
Karl Rove, the former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, on Monday said former President Trump’s mounting legal problems “dampens the Republican enthusiasm” ahead of the midterm elections, estimating that Democrats are gaining ground in polls amid investigations into Trump’s business and political practices.
Rove, who also served as a deputy chief of staff to Bush, told Fox News that for the last two weeks the political conversation has centered on the FBI raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate rather than on high inflation and economic uncertainty under President Biden’s watch.
“The more we talk about that and the less we talk about the problems that we face as a country here and now, the better off the Democrats are,” Rove said. “It raises their enthusiasm, dampens the Republican enthusiasm.”
The FBI raided Trump’s Florida estate on Aug. 9 in connection to classified documents he allegedly took after leaving the White House.
The Department of Justice is investigating Trump for potentially violating the Espionage Act because the documents, possibly containing information on nuclear weapons, were supposed to be turned over to the National Archives.
While the GOP rallied around Trump after the unprecedented search of a former president’s home, the search added to ongoing probes into the former president over the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and a New York investigation into his business and tax dealings.
A Politico-Morning Consult poll released last week showed Democrats are leading Republicans by 4 percentage points on a generic congressional ballot ahead of the November midterm elections.
Republicans had been favored to win the House and possibly take the Senate earlier this year when Biden struggled to contain the political fallout and high inflation rates.
Democrats appear to be gaining steam after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the nearly 50-year constitutional right to abortion, igniting protests, and after the party passed crucial legislation in Congress, such as a major tax and spending bill and expanded health care benefits for veterans.
Still, nearly three-quarters of voters say the country is headed in the wrong direction, showing a wide disconnect between Americans and elected officials in both parties.
Rove on Monday said the renewed attention on Trump’s legal battles is distracting from what he said is the failure of Democrats to manage the nation.
“Ironically enough, the more we see Biden on the campaign trail, the more it’s going to remind people of the challenges that they think the country faces,” he said. “But that’s not where we’ve been for the last couple weeks.”
This story was updated at 4:37 p.m.